In preparation for the new normal, all business owners, facility managers and administrators must create safe environments for their employees, customers and guests. A major factor in this preparation is sanitation and disinfection.
There are questions about how much more this will cost and how an already strapped budget can stretch far enough to pay a professional company to provide these services.
Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions about disinfection:
As an employer, where do I start?
Selecting a cleaning service was difficult prior to COVID-19. It may seem more difficult now moving into a new era where disinfection programs will be required.
Not many “run of the mill” janitorial services were prepared to handle COVID-19 when it came knocking on their door. During the stay-at-home restrictions, many of those same companies stopped servicing offices altogether and instead of educating themselves, they waited to go back to work. This is resulting in decision makers like yourselves wondering “Is my cleaning company ready?” The short answer is not likely.
It is clear that the new normal will not be cleaned by the old standard. That standard was created by a commodity market that gave the customer control to choose a cleaner based on the lowest price. An industry fraught by commodity buying created the true emergency in today’s COVID-19 pandemic: untrained, poorly supplied and unprotected janitorial workers cleaning your buildings.
You now have to decide what is best for you. Are you okay with exposing your teams, customers and guests to infection? Is your facility the new vector for coronavirus?
What do I need?
What you need now is a partner in sanitation, cleaning and disinfection that will work with you to develop a program that is best for your individual needs. Find a partner that has the training, compliance and resources available to support you through a crisis. Whether that crisis is real and shows up as COVID-19 cases in your facility, or a crisis of employee fear, you need a partner that will listen and implement the program you need.
What training and compliance protocols should I look for?
Not all companies are equal or the same. OctoClean spends countless hours training and certifying our franchise owners and staff to perform standard cleaning services and complete disinfection programs. Our courses are trained by a certified housekeeping environmental services professional.
Our contract compliance/ quality assurance staff are inspecting facilities and ensuring staff are performing services per training on a nightly basis. It makes no sense to train if compliance to that training is not maintained. We are always learning and are regularly participating in webinars held by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Society for Health Engineering (ASHE) and other infection prevention agencies.
What resources and tools do I need?
Having partnerships in the industry count. OctoClean has been actively buying to prepare for the surge of COVID-19 related disinfection needs. Where most are struggling to get personal protective equipment, disinfectants, electrostatic tools and microfiber towels, we have them and are ready to serve.
Our partnership with Waxie Sanitary Supply, 3M, Kimberly Clark and Georgia Pacific have afforded us the opportunity to move to the top of the list when products are requested. All the training and staffing in the world can only be effective if cleaning personnel have the tools and products they need.
What is a reasonable budget?
The services that are needed right now and in the future are labor intensive, require higher paid staff, are multi-step and, most importantly, must be performed with expensive N-listed disinfectants. In other words, a clean and disinfected facility is not completed with a commodity budget.
When asked how to build a budget I ask someone to consider their cost for absenteeism. In the past this was a tougher conversation to get going. Now it is clear that if one person gets COVID-19, others are likely to become infected and absentee rates will skyrocket.
There are still many questions to be answered, but what is clear is when one person gets it, many people are affected. Testing is taking 3-14 days for results and many are requiring a quarantine until an employee is cleared. Others in the workspace will also be asked to test and likely held out of work for 3-14 days.
How much in vacation time, sick days and productivity is being lost due to illness related absenteeism? This can be mitigated by implementing a disinfection program, providing hand sanitizers and providing social distancing measures.
Your cleaning company is part of an employee retention strategy not just a clean for appearance partner. The costs for cleaning will go up and your absenteeism will go down. Consider the cost savings not the cost for janitorial when choosing a partner to clean and disinfect.
Do I need to hire a professional?
It all amounts to how important workplace safety is to you. Disinfection programs are a team effort. Staff members will be required to disinfect their personal work stations and shared equipment between uses throughout the day, but at night, you should have a janitorial provider you can count on to deliver enhanced disinfection services.
This includes electrostatic disinfection, the most effective method of disinfection. Electrostatic disinfection devices use positive and negative charges to achieve 360-degree disinfectant coverage. We recommend electrostatic disinfection at least one time per week.
Electrostatic disinfection is not a replacement to routine cleaning and disinfection of the workplace. Surfaces still need to be cleaned to remove dirt and dust before they are disinfected. Touchpoint disinfection throughout the day is the only way to maintain a clean environment in between services.
Our programs are in place and we are ready to provide your staff with the resources they need to maintain respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and disinfection of personal and shared work stations. Together, we can keep your employees, customers and worksite visitors safe.